The Temptations' Two Silent Nights
The holiday classic's definitive version is actually the group's second one.
As a child, Christmas in my house was filled with lights, the smell of my Mom’s cooking and music. There are two albums that I remember moving to the front of the pile, Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” and The Temptations.
We discussed these albums on the final Queue Points’ episode of the year where we pondered the question “Who really rules Christmas?”
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Like with any show, I prepared by listening to songs from the albums Essence referenced in the article “The Best Black Christmas Albums of All Time, Ranked.”
At #2 sat The Temptations Christmas Card from 1970, and in my mind (see what I did there?) I thought, of course, that has the brilliant “Silent Night” on it. I was right about the brilliant part, but completely wrong about the song. Yes, there is a version of “Silent Night” on this album, and it’s beautiful. It includes Eddie Kendricks on lead, and is a more traditional version of the song.
It was at this moment that I realized The Temptations have two versions of this song, and both are beautiful and classics in their own right.
More About The Temptations Christmas Card
Released in 1970, "The Temptations Christmas Card" was the group's first foray into holiday music. The album was produced by Motown mainstays Barrett Strong and Clay McMurray, this album showcased the group's ability to infuse traditional Christmas songs with their Temps-sound of the era.
This line of The Temps was the third version of the group, I believe, and featured: Dennis Edwards, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams, and Otis Williams.
So, as it turned out, the Christmas album that I most remember from The Temptations is the second one, Give Love At Christmas.
More About Give Love at Christmas
Released a decade later, in 1980, Give Love At Christmas was produced by Gil Askey, one of the architects of the Motown sound. This album is a smooth R&B affair, and their version of “The Little Drummer Boy” has a funky groove you can’t help but dance to. The album featured a different lineup from their first Christmas album, with Dennis Edwards, Melvin Franklin, Richard Street, Glenn Leonard, and Otis Williams this time around. This variation in membership undoubtably contributed to the distinct sound that resonated with the music scene of the era.
"Silent Night" - A Timeless Rendition
Of course, the song I remember the most is the final track on the album - “Silent Night.” Lovingly referred to as "Silent Night (In My Mind),” this soul-filled interpretation has Dennis Edwards on lead vocals, and was a staple in my household during the holiday season.
Happy Holidays From Queue Points
We are so honored that you have continued to rock with us. We have a lot planned for 2024. Our feed won’t be dark during the holidays either. We have kicked off our feed swaps with. Check out their episode on SWV now.